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Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference 2004
30 Million Visitors 'By 2010'
- Monday 31, May-2004
Speaking at the eighth annual Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, which concluded recently in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Suarez said the hotel and tourism industry had crossed a significant milestone by ultimately prevailing over those events.
He further suggested that regional hoteliers had waited and planned for a recovery that was now very evident.
“The Caribbean is now enjoying more airlift from the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, than ever before. Forecasts from our colleagues in the Caribbean Tourism Organisation predict that the number of stay-over visitors will increase to over 30 million by 2010.
“This translates to growth of more than 50 per cent over ten years, as a result of continued expansion of the world tourism market,” said Suarez.
The CHA president warned, however, that while the outlook seemed impressive there were still challenges facing the industry and he advised players in the tourism sector to focus on product development and enhancement to boost the capacity necessary for growth in the industry.
In terms of attracting greater investment in the Caribbean, Suarez said a fundamental step towards improving the investment climate in the region would be a major review of tourism taxation.
This, he said, should be carried out with a view towards increasing the region's competitiveness with other destinations, and with the cruise-tourism sector.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, told the conference that while tourism was at the heart of the economies of most countries in the region, it also carried tremendous potential for development in others.
She said despite a 1.2 per cent decline in world tourism arrivals, the Caribbean hosted some 20 million stop-over visitors in 2003, which translated into a seven per cent increase over 2002.
“Where earnings are concerned, the region suffered a decline from US$19.5 billion in 2001 to US$18.8 billion in 2002, but preliminary, indications are that there was growth of around ten per cent in 2003, in line with Jamaica’s improved earnings performance of nearly 11 per cent,” Ndombet-Assamba said.
| For the first
three months of 2004, Caribbean tourism recovery continued with the Dominican
Republic enjoying a nine per cent increase, The Bahamas 7.9 per cent, Cayman
Islands 8.6 per cent and Jamaica 7.0 per cent.
The Jamaican minister contended that world trade and market conditions had forced Caribbean countries to prioritise those areas in which they enjoy a comparative advantage and the hospitality industry offered this region the most compelling opportunity.
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Godfrey Dyer said partners in Jamaica were fully committed to working to improve the attractiveness of the region, the quality of the tourism product, and to strengthen the linkages between tourism and other sectors of the economy.
He said investment was occurring apace across Jamaica in the hospitality and tourism industry, with new players entering and stalwarts expanding and renewing their product.
Compliments of the Nation News
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